My co-workers mom has had Alzheimer's for quite awhile, and the family had been told she probably wouldn't make it through the rest of the week. She said she woke up every hour throughout the night last night sure she was going to be getting that dreaded phone call. She didn't get it in the night, though. She got it at work today. The family was told to assemble and say goodbye. I remember getting the phone call. I remember the utter panic, the tear at my heart. Do I tell her it is all right for her to leave me or do I freak and beg her to stay? My heart answered that for me, though my brain was telling me I was throwing myself to the wolves. I told her it was ok, and it shattered my heart and soul. After she died, the guilt rose up in me every single day for months on end. What if? It was terrible.
My co-worker said it was like losing her mom twice. She lost her once when her mom forgot who she was, and now, she is losing her again. This time, she won't be able to go back and visit a woman who doesn't have a clue who she is, but still means the world to her. The finality is almost the worst part, wondering how you are going to go on with your life, what it will be like not to see them anymore. She told me that just because she was older didn't make it easier, and I told her I knew. Just because her mom was sick didn't make it easier, and I knew.
We want our mommies to live forever, to always be our superheroes, to always drive us crazy, to always smile at us warmly and accept us no matter what crazy mistake we had made. No one in the world loves you like your mom does. No one knows you like your mom does. I felt like a piece of me had gone with her when she died, and I was helpless to retrieve it. I don't want any of you to feel as though I haven't been able to move on in my life, though it has only been a little over a year. I have, but there will always be things in life that bring it back to me.
It is a terrible thing to lose a mother, whether or not she can even remember who you are. You remember who she is, and you always remember how much you loved her and she, you. Please keep this woman in your thoughts. Right now, she is no longer a grown woman, but a little girl again, wishing she could make it all go away.